New shoes, new shoes, red and pink and blue shoes. . . .


Tell me, what would you choose if they let you buy?

That’s a memory from childhood triggered by Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris, the book I am reading at the moment. The poem is one that I had to learn when I was at school.  It is a happy poem and one that brings back happy memories.

Choosing Shoes

by Frida Wolfe

New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes.
Tell me, what would you choose,
If they’d let us buy?

Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
Strappy, cappy low shoes;
Let’s have some to try.

Bright shoes, white shoes,
Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
Like some? So would I.

Flat shoes, fat shoes,
Stump-along-like-that shoes,
Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
That’s the sort they’ll buy.

Unfortunately I am one of those people who has “generously proportioned” feet so shoe buying has always been a bit of a chore for me.  There never seems to be the shoes that I want in my size.

shoesI love it that when kids are little it doesn’t matter what size the shoes are as long as they can get them on their feet.

big boots

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Northern Narratives says:

    What a wonderful poem. I love it. It reminds me that when I was 8 years old, I wanted red shoes. And I did get red shoes. I don’t even remember those shoes, I just have a photo of them 🙂

    1. suth2 says:

      Red is still my favourite shoe colour.

  2. What a wonderful poem, and it’s funny the way children will put anything on their feet. I don’t remember this but my mum says that when I was a child I was only interested in hats and shoes and didn’t bother if I had anything on inbetween. I agree with you about red shoes, there’s something very special about them.

  3. June dyer says:

    I am from Trinidad and Tobago. I had to learn this poem. It was my favorite poem of all time. Two nights ago I was telling my kids about poems we had to learn in school. For the life of me I could not remeall the words. That was 40 plus year ago. So i set out to find this poem and there you were. I was so happy. Now my kids can learn it too. Thank you for your post

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi June,
      Thank you so much for your comment. It is always good to know that someone else is reading what I put out there. I loved poetry at school and as a teacher I also enjoyed instilling a love of poetry in my pupils. I hope they have remembered some of the poems they learnt when I was their teacher.
      Regards, Heather

  4. Linda Thompson says:

    I remember this poem from my childhood. It was my favourite

  5. Caroline Yost says:

    My mother had a poetry book, copyrighted 1918, that I used to pore through as a child. There were multitudes of great poems, but this was my favorite. Still have the book, its pages fragile and yellow with age. Still have the poem memorized.

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Caroline,
      So lovely to get your comment. I have always loved poetry and one of my favourite books is a very old poetry book by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. My dad used to quote her often and I was delighted when I found the book in an antique book shop.

  6. Fayleen says:

    So excited to find this poem which I also learned as a child but had forgotten so,e of the words. Thank you.

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Fayleen,
      Glad I was able to fill in the gaps for you.

  7. Jennie says:

    My mums teacher read this out when she was 5/6 years old in class and she loved it. She’s always sung it to us- the words she could remember. She’s 65 now and so happy I found this and all the words she had forgotten (there wasn’t too many though, great memory)

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Jennoe,
      So glad you were able to find the words for your mum’s song. I taught this poem to my primary school children when I used to be a teacher here in Australia but I think I first heard it in Scotland, where I spent my childhood.

  8. What a beautiful poem. I had never heard of it before. Having had to wear correcting dark brown shoes now I love shoes in every imaginable colour.

    1. suth2 says:

      My daughter has a big collection of shoes.

  9. Shirl says:

    Thank you for posting this poem. I too had to learn this one in school. That was about 55 years ago. It’s a poem that stuck in my head forever and has always made me smile.

    1. suth2 says:

      So happy to hear that you were taught this poem too.

  10. Carla hall says:

    I learnt this poem at school when I was nine not heard
    sit since but I Anver forgot all the words

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Carla, it is a poem that has certainly stuck in my memory.

  11. Magdalena Steenkamp says:

    This is unbelievable ! This poem just all of a sudden came into my mind today. I couldn’t remember all the words, googled it and whalla …. I was aged 8 or 9 when we leant it at school. Could be late 50’s. I am from South Africa, Afrikaans speaking and English was our second language at school. I just loved the poem ! ☺☺☺

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Magdalena, So glad you found the copy of the poem. It was one of my favourites as a child and I sometimes quote lines of it to my granddaughter now. Maybe she will remember it down the years.

  12. Magdalena Steenkamp says:

    I can still see our faces in my mind when saying the poem … we always liked ‘acting’ (and still do !). Good memories, especially at our age !

  13. Gina K Abercrombie-Winstanley says:

    This was in volume 2 Poems, of the Childcraft set. Oh, I loved it and have shared it many times over the years. Probably explains my closet as well! My complaint is that it isn’t longer (shoes deserve more) so I added two verses: “Silver shoes, green shoes
    Suede, or satin cream shoes
    Patent, just for dream shoes
    Always make me sigh.
    Walking shoes
    Running shoes
    Sandals, just for sunning shoes
    Lucious, simply stunning shoes
    Now it’s me who buys”
    Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

    1. suth2 says:

      Wow Gina! I love the added verse. I can just imagine your closet. Thank you for sharing the verse.

  14. Georgia Fogel says:

    I’m 66. When I was in the 2nd grade, if we were wearing new shoes, the teacher had us walk around the room for everyone to see, while the class recited the poem. I wore new shoes today (Lavendar Skechers Go Walk 5) and all day this was going through my head. And I DID walk proudly while I showed them to everyone! I never thought to Google until tonight and discovered that I’ve remembered it word for word. We only did a couple of verses, however. How many proud new shoe enthusiasts were inspired by this poem?
    👟 👠 👡

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Georgia,
      How lovely to hear of your memories of 2nd grade. Your teacher sure knew how to help you memorise the poem. I tend to quote the poem when I see my granddaughter with new shoes. It is poem that has a lovely rhythm.

  15. Pat Schweikhardt says:

    I loved this poem also. However, I related to it differently than most of you. I had polio in 1941. . For years i had to wear a brown oxford that the local cobbler outfitted for my right foot which was smaller and didn’t work properly. So my shoes were always the “Flat shoes, fat shoes, stump along like that shoes.” (Never fear as a teen I rebelled and tried out other styles, usually with a strap and a raised heel)

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Pat,
      So sorry to hear that you had to tolerate “stomp along like that shoes” but glad you were able to wear something more to your liking in your teen years.

  16. Sandy stevens says:

    Oh I am SO happy to have found this… we had Childcraft also and loved these poems and could remember two of the four verses… now I can teach grandkids the whole poem …. and I think this explains my closet also 🤪😍

    1. suth2 says:

      So happy for you that you found the poem. It always brings a smile when I re read it or recite one or two lines.
      I can well imagine your closet.

  17. Arnold says:

    This was my favorite poem at primary school, i had to memorize it 30 years plus ago and still remember it, i am teaching it to my little girl now, thank you poet

    1. suth2 says:

      It is a poem that has such a lovely lilting rhythm so easy for children to learn.

  18. G. Beaton says:

    I had to learn this for an eisteddfod when I was about nine!! Loved it!! Was so pleased to find in on google!!

    1. suth2 says:

      Happy to see you found something to bring back a few memories.

  19. christine hartas says:

    I read the poem to my girls when they were young. Just realised as I walked my dog 40 years later, that now I “stump along like that (shoes)”. So glad to find all the other lines so I can teach them to my granddaughters when I see them (covid-permitting) this Christmas. Thanks

    1. suth2 says:

      Hi Christine, so glad you found the poem and can now teach the other lines to your granddaughters.
      Hope you get to be with your family at Christmas.

  20. Loved the silly little lyrical poem, the rhyme and rhythm reminded me very much of a poem we learned at school Cargoes (1903) by John Masefield – and in the last verse we get this reality check, much as we did with the shoes:

    Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
    Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
    With a cargo of ivory,
    And apes and peacocks,
    Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

    Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
    Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
    With a cargo of diamonds,
    Emeralds, amethysts,
    Topazes, cinnamon, and gold moidores.

    Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
    Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
    With a cargo of Tyne coal,
    Road rails, pig lead,
    Firewood, ironware, and cheap tin trays.

    I always thought people with big feet were blessed – every time I go to a sale there is never the standard size 8 only 9,10, or 11 ……..

    1. suth2 says:

      Thank you for your comment.
      Cargoes was one of my favourite poems too. The content of the last verse is the reality check as you say.

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